Worthy: Living up to his title
Worthy hails from the United States’ most vibrant city of dance music San Francisco, where he set up stumps in 2001 and firmly established himself as a DJ/producer, as well as the owner of the internationally recognised Anabatic Records. Prior to his flourishing San Francisco career he resided in Washington DC, and growing up there he bore witness to the evolution of the American rave scene, with the likes of Deep Dish and Scott Henry also hailing from his hometown. The young Worthy was enticed into the club scene by drum n’ bass, and was hence exposed to a wider range of club music genres, drawn to the seductive sounds of Sasha, Basement Jaxx and Stacey Pullen.
Worthy has since lived up to his title, with industry greats and heavyweights singing his praise. Claude VonStroke had him signed up to his prodigious Dirtybird imprint, and upon the release in May this year of the Worthy & Yankee Zulu Concumbia EP, none other than Carl Cox called out, “Here we go again – another Worthy track I can see being played all summer long!” ITM poses a few questions on this rising star to ascertain if he is worthy of all the hype…
Did the early sounds of US house inspire you to get involved in the scene?
The first music that really got me into electronic music was drum n’ bass. That really got me going out to the clubs. But I was always checking out the sounds in all the rooms that were going on. That got me going to hear diffent acts like Stacy Pullen, Sasha & Digweed and Bassment Jaxx in the late 90s. I just knew after I finished school that I was going to create and add my own sound to what was going on. Everything I heard back then got me excited and inspired me to get involved
When did you first start DJing? What model of decks did you begin your bedroom DJ days on?
I started DJing back in 97 when I started school in New York City, back then all I had was some belt-drive turntable that had no pitch shift on it, that I had for listening to albums and 7-inches before I started spinning. And a Gemini turntable that had a pitch shift on it. It made it pretty hard to mix when you where trying to go back to the belt-drive turntable, since you could not change the pitch. But it probably made me stronger in the end since I learned that way.
You’re good friends Justin Martin, and you’re signed to his Dirtybird label. How did you guys meet, was it your love of electronic music?
I meet Justin in college skate boarding in front of our school in New York. We struck up a friendship through skating, but soon learned that we were both really passionate about music. That in the end created the friendship that we have now. I can definitely talk to him about music in a different way then anybody else.
The sound that you have produced has ranged from hip hop, to techno, drum and bass and break-beat. Who were your greatest early influences?
My biggest early influences where LTJ Bukem, Sasha & Digweed, Optical, Ed Rush and Washington DC ‘GoGo’ music. All those guys had a huge influence on what I make today.
Does your live DJ style mirror your production aspirations? Or do you play a more upbeat set, than what you produce in the studio?
I think my DJ style is close to my production. I play a lot of my own tubes and music from the label during the set, and that kind of leads where my sets will go. I try to fill my sets with a lot of excitement and energy.
Dirtybird dancehall events have become a well renowned institution in San Francisco. Do you find people are drawn to San Francisco for the music scene? Is this why you set up Anabatic Records there in 2006?
I think people come to SF for the music, the people and the location. There are a number of people I know who did come just for the music. For electronic music, in the states I definitely believe that it is the place to be right now. On any given night there are a couple of parties going and usually with a variety of different electronic music. I did not set up Anabatic just for that reason though. I set up originally as an outlet just to get my music out. It could have happened any where.
Whilst you have set up a solid front in your city, you do get the opportunity to tour with Dirtybird. However, touring can get fairly lonely; do you ever have the opportunity to take an ‘entourage’ with you?
I wish that I could pull a bunch of my friends with me. But that has never really happened. I usually know a couple of people in most of the cities that I go to which makes the road not to lonely.
Honestly, is it all just one party to the next? Are you living the DJ dream, or do you get more enjoyment out of production and promoting rising talent?
I would not say it is one party to the next. Some times it’s like that and it’s awesome. Most of the time on the road you got to run out so early to hit the next city it makes it hard to get to enjoy where you are. But I love to DJ to a sick crowd, there is no other feeling like it. That part I love so much. But being in the studio and running the label are rewarding in there own ways as well. It is not as fast a payoff, but it feels just as good to see it happen.
Your latest release, the Madcap EP, has a real dirty fidget house and techno edge to it. Is this where you feel the sound is going for you, and worldwide?
I normally have no idea where my sound is going or the world. I am always trying to get a bit experimental in the sounds and trying out different ideas. I usually just let the music take me on a journey.
Worthy plays Lost Baggage at The Cross in Sydney this Saturday 18th July.